OTHER REPORT TYPES

33.9.1 Executive

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Purpose: An executive report condenses long topics into a very brief document, typically less than one page in length. Basically these save a manager from having to read a complete technical report to find the details that interest him/her.

33.9.2 Consulting

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Purpose: A consulting report is typically commissioned by an independent third party to review a difficult problem. The consultant will review the details of the problem, do tests or perform analyses as required, and then summarize the results. The report typically ends with conclusions, suggestions or recommendations.

33.9.3 Memo(randum)

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Purpose: A memorandum or “memo” is an internal business communication or brief technical report designed to convey a business policy or technical information.

 

 

Header Format: The standard memo is written in block format that starts with the header:

 

Memorandum

Date:

From:

To:

Subject:

cc:

33.9.4 Interim

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Purpose: An interim report is normally a formal report that tracks the progress of a project. When a project is initially planned, it will be given a timeline to follow. The interim report will indicate progress relative to the initial timeline, as well as major achievements and problems.

33.9.5 Poster

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Purpose: A presentation format that conveys the key information visually so that a spectator can grasp the concept of the project in a glance and be able to review the key concepts in under one minute.

 

? Use readable font sizes (minimum of 16 pt).

 

? Use abundant figures

 

? Put on foam core backing board, or (worse) on a purchased cardboard backing board.

 

? Format using bullet points (still full sentences) to abbreviate the presentation.

 

? Make the poster self-explanatory

 

? Be neat

 

? Use color in a tasteful way.

? Use CRAP design principles (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity)

 

Typical sections include:

 

? Purpose/motivation - a brief summary of the purpose of the work; a summary of the major work entailed and outcomes.

 

? Approach - the work that was done.

 

? Conclusions - the results of the work done.

? Acknowledgements - indicate others who played a significant role in obtaining the results.

33.9.6 Progress Report

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Purpose: A progress report provides details of project progress to a supervisor or customer.

 

Typical sections include:

 

? Purpose/motivation - a brief summary of the purpose of the work; a summary of the major work entailed and intended outcomes.

 

? Approach - the work that has been done in the time period covered.

 

? Conclusions - the current results of the work that was assigned.

? Acknowledgements - indicate others who have played a significant role in obtaining the current results.

33.9.7 Oral

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Purpose: An oral report presents work to an audience in a formal spoken and visual presentation. They are often used to “pitch” or “sell” a technical idea in addition to being used to provide a progress report in which the presenter can be questioned.

 

This can be a very effective method of communication when done well, but it can also be very ineffective because an audience may be forced to sit through an uncomfortable experience.

 

 

 

 

 

? Use readable font sizes (minimum of 16 pt).

 

? Use abundant figures

 

 

? Format using bullet points (still full sentences) to abbreviate the presentation.

 

? Make the slides as self-explanatory as possible

 

? Be neat

 

? Use color, visuals and sounds in a tasteful way.

? Use CRAP design principles (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity)

? Present concepts in three parts: (1) introduction, (2) develop concept (3) review and conclusion

33.9.8 Patent

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Purpose: A patent disclosure is a document used to describe a design for legal purposes.

 

? A patent documents that an individual/company owns the idea.

 

? It gives them the right to sue those who use the idea and “infringe.”

 

? The patent is submitted to the patent office and reviewed. If the reviewers are satisfied, then the patent is granted, and a patent number is assigned.

 

? A patent only gives the holder the right to sue.

 

? Normally, a patent lists the inventor (often an engineer), but is assigned to the inventor’s employer. If the inventor is an employee, they assign the rights to the employer in exchange for $1.

 

? Patents are publically available after they are granted to encourage innovation.

 

? Patents have a life of 20 years from the date of application.

 

? A patent is only available for ideas that can be patented.

 

? The patent disclosure is structured into the following sections:

 

Abstract - a brief description of the patent

 

References - A list of other patents, or other publications that are related. These are expected as most patents are built upon previous concepts.

 

Claims - An itemized list of features that make the design unique from previous ideas. Normally, there are at least a dozen claims. These are the items that are the legal basis for the patent.

 

Description - A technically detailed description of the patentable work. This normally includes subsections such as Summary of the Invention, Description of the Drawings, Detailed Description of the Invention. It is common for the description to include drawings and equations.

 

An example patent disclosure is presented at the end of this writing guide.

 

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